Quiet Hipster Films / A Cinematic Whisper in Black/White: ‘Frances Ha’

Frances, O, Frances, where are you? Brooklyn, in the era of Hipsters and post-feminist feminists, in which no twenty-something without a trust-fund can get by on just one job, one gig, or one talent. Not if she pays her own rent and wants to live. That’s where. The words “But I should save money… so I can pay rent” are nothing like poverty, but not many parents understand why recent college grad’s need multiple roommates to pay for such tiny (and not exactly adorable) apartments. This is a somewhat cramped and more expensive version of bohemian luxury, and we wouldn’t need it if we would just move. But this is Brooklyn, New York. We walk and fall and get back up on the tight rope all day: walking is like flying, falling sucks, but getting back up again means we belong here.

To the movie, though- Frances wanders through a New York life, stubborn against the idea of giving in to any daily grind that isn’t her passion and admittedly “always so tired”- a realistic portrait of how thousands of Frances’ are existing right now within a five mile radius of where I sit typing at this moment. The charming realism is impressive, by which I mean that the script is very good.

For better and for worse, a large population can relate to the words, the looks, the views that Frances, Sophie, Lev, and all live out in the film. Many more sat yearning to have that realism be theirs for as long as they could survive it. There you have the market- a great grasp on an elusive subject.

Script, check. Market, check. Vision- spectacular. The film, beyond my very personal understanding of the subject matter, needs to be on did many more New New York films. I write this having heard just hours ago that Pearl Paint has been shuttered, and am coming to terms with the fact that life blood here in this grungy city must be renewed.

The new city must mean something close to what Frances knows- how she survives. I don’t mean running up debts on a pre-approved credit card at the age of 27 or avoiding a day job only to become an RA at your alma mater…no. I mean the conclusion, when she starts to reach forward with open arms, to use the available space to create with what time she has between surviving and resting. Making New York her own is how she ends up, and that isn’t a dead-end, it highlights that a universal purpose can and should be experienced in this city of sleepless nights, jerkfaced gangster landlords, ever-absurd expectations, and still more random beauty…don’t miss it if it’s what you’ve been surviving for.

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